10 life lessons from Katharine Hepburn

(edited from a previous post, August 2012)


The Tao of Hepburn~ 10 Life Lessons from Katharine Hepburn 

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.” Finding your passion and making it your life’s work is a choice, your choice.

“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.” Do not stand on the sidelines and wait for someone to put you in the game. You are the quarterback of your life.

“I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.” Every day, every minute, each mundane moment is a chance to create. You can conjure up boredom and complacency or you can make magic. It is all on you.

“Being a housewife and a mother is the biggest job in the world, but if it doesn’t interest you, don’t do it – I would have made a terrible mother.” If you choose the mission, then give it your all without demanding anything in return. Grow respect by mothering from a place of love, not expectation. Nurture, guide and teach by example, without criticism. If you choose to forgo motherhood, see the following….

“Never complain. Never explain.” Do not ever give someone the power to make you feel guilty for your choices. You are on your path, living your life. Stand tall by your convictions and let your actions define your character.

“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” Go ahead and pay the therapist your hard-earned money, get your parental angst off your chest. Now, get over it. Parents do the best they can with what they have. It is called the past for a reason. It has passed. Kick it into high gear and move forward. It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.

“Without discipline, there’s no life at all.” Either you do it or you don’t. If you cannot apply discipline to your studies, your workout, your health, your screenplay, your marriage, your child rearing, your job, your finances, your blog, your novel, then, you will never achieve the success that will create happiness and security which, in turn, will cause you to feel doubt, fear and depression and, yes, that is “no life at all.”

“If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behavior.” Your attitude is your superpower. You choose good or evil. Positive behavior creates a magical life, negative behavior fills your days with chaos and drama. Again, it is your choice.

“If you need a helping hand, you can find one at the end of your arm.” Roll up your sleeves and get it done. Especially if you want it done right. Nothing worth anything is easy, remember…

“Life is hard, after all, it kills you.” As long as you draw breath, draw breadth. Leave this earth knowing you worked hard, you played hard, you loved hard and you lived hard. This is your one life. Don’t hold back.

Be like Katharine.


Friday Funny

So, My Girl is off in Los Angeles. With her Boston University Film/TV Degree in tow, she landed a job in record time and she is pursuing her dream. Making movies.

Making me laugh is one thing that Jordan does best. Always. She is the funniest person I know. A dry, sharp wit ever since she could speak.

There hasn’t been a trauma or drama where she couldn’t make her mama laugh.

Since it’s Friday and I’m missing her so badly, I am sharing her recent Mother’s Day card.

Man, I love that girl.
Man, I love that girl.

 What can I say? She makes me laugh.

Happy Friday, Jordan. And, Cheers! It’s almost 5:00. Well, in Texas anyway.

photo Jennifer Granger Photography
photo Jennifer Granger Photography


letting the light back in

I stumbled. I was a little wobbly. I am back up again.

I just couldn’t bring myself to post without sounding perfectly intentional or inspirational. It’s just a tiny blog! You’d think I was trying to write a sequel to the I Ching.

I was totally over-thinking it. Trying too hard. Perfectionism is venom in the veins of creativity.

And then a friend of mine from the Vineyard sent me this video. It reminded me that simple beauty, perfection and creative inspiration can come from the most humble of places.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
~Leonard Cohen

That was the intent of my Living Lola blog all along. A small serving of creating a beautiful, meaningful life from the banquet of everyday living.

Simply put, it has been tumultuous times in Texas. Honestly, I’d settle for a little mundane right now. It isn’t anything I can’t handle. In fact, it is just another opportunity to widen the frame and sharpen the focus. Doesn’t the struggle make the story?  Or something like that? I know I want good lighting. Anyway…

So, back to basics. Gently coated anecdotes, well-intentioned wisdom, good food, brilliant beverages. Creative, authentic, sincere living.

I Ching, rest assured. “Book II-Dynasty Quest” has been shelved.

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

make your plan

Set out and do it. Really. Whatever you truly want.

Career, relationship, parenting, dream home. Just like your next trip to the grocery store, it all starts with a plan.

Precise, direct, simple.

But, a life well-lived is not supposed to be precise or direct. Certainly not, simple.

Keep your aim in the general direction. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared for the hard work. Setbacks, big and small, await. Dig deep, breathe and fight your way through.

If you really want it, then it is worth fighting for.

 When the really big obstacles become just that, obstacles…step back. Think outside the box. Look at it another way.

There is always a way.

And, I’m pretty sure it won’t take six men to figure it out.

all photos from our first week of demo and salvage at our Woodland Heights house in Houston, Texas 

pictures from “home”


Martha’s Vineyard is on island time.

We get to it, when we get to it.

It is quiet and serene.

But, this precious little bunny better stay away from my kale, or you’ll hear me yelling, DEEP in the heart of Texas!

There is always something to do to care for a 137 year old house. Cleaning, fixing, re-doing, planting, pruning, shoveling, washing, patching, painting, updating.

But, I’ll get to it when I get to it.

Maybe, I’ll make a batch of a marinara sauce with my happily caffeinated basil. Or,

Try a new recipe. Take Juliet for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Listen to the rain. Read. Write. Do yoga. Do Pilates.

I’m on island time, now.

Maybe, I’ll just be still and listen to my own private concert.

Happy Summer from MV.

Living Marina

To be perfectly honest, I could spend the rest of my life trying to adequately write about living a whole life, taking chances, dreaming big and making your life, the best it can be. Yesterday, I read one essay that nailed it on the head. As I read the heartbreaking story about  Marina Keegan, my heart was full. My sister Jen said it best, “I know we shouldn’t question God’s plan, but sometimes we want to question God’s plan.”

In her too short 22 years, she was able to sum up a manifesto, an essay on how to truly spend your days. Ironically, she didn’t even know exactly what she had accomplished when she edited and proofread her final draft. She is inspiring, eloquent, humorous and above all, she is right. Sadly, her statement about having her whole life ahead of her was, tragically, incorrect.

Note to self:  START TODAY. There are no guarantees. Starting a new life doesn’t only have to come on January 1. A better you, a better relationship, a better job, a better life can start on May 30th, as well.

Yesterday, I was just telling my son of a tweet I had read that questioned why Americans have two days to honor veterans, as we should, but not one day to celebrate peace. He and I were imagining a national holiday spent working on doing good in the world. A day when we were exactly the person we knew we could be; the best version of our self. (Maybe it could be on John Lennon’s birthday, no?)

A day unplugging from the social world and plugging in to your real world; offering a smile to everyone, letting others go first, holding doors for each other, letting go of the road rage. Just looking up from our phones and into the eyes of the world would be a great start. And, we would call each other out with a simple , “Ahhh, it’s Peace Day, remember?!” and we would bring that person around and share a good laugh. We’ve been trained to pinch someone for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, for crying out loud, it could work!

I hope you will read “The Opposite of Loneliness” in its entirety, keeping the Keegan family in your thoughts, while putting the words of Marina into action.

“Let’s make something happen to this world.”

I will offer up my own Peace day in honor of a girl I never met, a girl who could be my daughter, a girl who was much wiser than her years and encouraged a better world for us all. Today, I will be Living Marina.


TCM, Classic Continuity

Spring has truly sprung on Martha’s Vineyard. One of the things I love most about New England is the changing of four actual seasons. When I arrived 3 weeks ago, it was still cold and the leaves and flowers were still waiting for their cue, holed up in their tight buds. With a beautiful Memorial weekend, the island joined in on a resounding, “TA DAA”!

When I am here, there is always something to do to keep up this 135 year old house. It is a job I relish. This summer, I have plans to re-finish furniture, convert the shed into a Pilates studio and maybe, just maybe, build a small deck. It’s a hammer and nails and measuring tape, wood planks, right? I’m sure there is a YouTube for that.

When I retire for the evening, watching old familiar movies is comforting. Especially since my dear husband is in Texas right now.  There are some movies I can watch over and over again. Currently, however, I am all about ‘The Avengers”. I saw it again this weekend with my kids, my second time, my daughter’s third. We are hooked. (I want Tony Stark to be real and in my life.) There is something about the familiarity of knowing the lines and what’s coming next that I find reassuring. It is like all is right in the world for 120 minutes. To be honest, we watched Star Wars on Friday night for the, hmmm, 237th time? (It WAS the 35th anniversary!) And, I could still watch again. Continuity can be extremely comforting.

Today, it’s back to work around the Red Door cottage. It is garden day. There are flowers to prune and arrange. And, after a weekend with the kids here, I’m sure a trip to the market is in order, as well. Before I head out, here are my TCM picks for this week. There won’t be as many in the coming weeks since it’s summertime and I hope you are out enjoying it. But, it is nice to have a couple of sure things waiting on the DVR after a long day outside, at the beach or wherever you summer days take you. Enjoy!



Thursday May 31

10:00 PM

BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)   The legendary bank robbers run riot in the South of the 1930s. Dir: Arthur Penn Cast:  Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard. C-111 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format

Warren Beatty had wanted to only produce this film, with Bob Dylan as his first choice to play Clyde.  Warner Bros. had little faith in this violent picture and was given a “B movie” release. After it began to receive critical acclaim, it was re-released with better promotion. The sale of berets soared after Dunaway wore them in this film. Roger Ebert labeled this as the first masterpiece of his then, 6 month old career as a film critic. After Beatty agreed to also star in the title role, he desperately wanted his girlfriend Natalie Wood to co-star as Bonnie. She was going through depression and declined. This is the film debut of Gene Wilder.

I am not usually one for over the top violence, but while the last scene of the film is harrowing and excessive, it is both historically accurate and historic cinematically. Creative gadgets were rigged and the make-up department tested new approaches to making the blood and grisly death scene look very real. AFI #42 Greatest Film of All Time. Filmed in the great state of Texas!


 Friday June 1

6:00 AM

CACTUS FLOWER (1969)   A philandering dentist asks his assistant to help him deal with his latest girlfriend. Dir: Gene Saks Cast:  Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman, Goldie Hawn. C-104 mins, TV-14, CC, Letterbox Format

My dear Goldie’s first major film role and she hit it out of the park, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Toni. It had been over 25 years since Bergman had been on a Hollywood soundstage. All of her films had been made in Europe. The film was an adaptation of the 1965 Broadway production that starred Lauren Bacall, Barry Nelson and Brenda Vaccaro as Toni. The movie has a very “Three’s Company” kind of plot, but the chemistry amongst the characters set in 1969 make this a fun, swingin’, easy comedy. Bonus: you’ll celebrate a little redemption if you sat, painfully, through the 2011 remake, “Just Go With It” with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.


Saturday June 2

 3:00 PM

WILD ONE, THE (1953)   Motorcycle-riding delinquents take over a small town. Dir: Laslo Benedek Cast:  Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith. BW-79 mins, TV-14, CC

This must be the “cool rider” Michelle Pfeiffer really sang about in “Grease 2.”  Brando, Harleys, Triumphs, gangs…1950’s cool.  Brando rode his own personal Triumph in the film. Lee Marvin had to learn to ride his Harley, not wanting to be shown up by the star, Brando. This was the first film that did not black out the logos of the bikes and, at first, Triumph was none too pleased about being linked with the “Black Rebel” gang, until of course, their sales increased due to the film and Brando. The film is loosely based on an actual incident that happened in Hollister, CA in 1947 and in 1997, a 50th anniversary celebration was held in the same town. This film is iconic Brando as he introduced the long sideburns that inspired Elvis and James Dean. Before there was “Be like Han.”, everyone wanted to “Be like Brando.”


Sunday June 3

 10:00 AM

TALK OF THE TOWN, THE (1942)   An escaped political prisoner and a stuffy law professor vie for the hand of a spirited schoolteacher.  Dir: George Stevens Cast:  Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Coleman.  BW-117 mins, TV-G, CC

One of my personal favorites, well…it IS Cary Grant! But also, Jean Arthur is always precious and Ronald Coleman, that smooth British accent is like poetry. This is drama intersecting with screwball comedy. This film marked the first time Coleman was second billed below another male lead. 1942 proved to be a busy year for Lloyd Bridges. His minute role in this film was one of 20 small appearances he made in that year. Don’t blink or you’ll miss him!


12:00 PM

ANNIE (1982)  An orphan attracts the attention of a Wall Street tycoon and a con artist.  Dir: John Huston Cast:  Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Aileen Quinn.  C-127 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

This is for my kids…all four of them. They loved this movie when they were little, each passing it down to the next kid. This film had a long run in the Stallings’ house. The only Annie production we enjoyed more was when our two older girls had parts in their Community Theatre production. Ah, good times, good times. Film nuggets: Jack Nicholson was originally signed to play Daddy Warbucks.  Steve Martin had to drop out of playing Rooster since he was in the middle of breaking up with Bernadette Peters and he thought it to be too painful. Drew Barrymore auditioned for the role of Annie. In total, over 8000 girls were interviewed over two years for this coveted role.


Monday June 4

 8:00 AM

WOMEN, THE (1939)   A happily married woman lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband strays. Dir: George Cukor Cast:  Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell. BW-133 mins, TV-PG, C

A Hollywood homage to women power, with 130 roles in this film…all women. Every animal used in the film…female. All works of art seen in the background are of the female form. Cattiness over top billing, being fashionably late, playing favorites and general bickering ran amuck just under the surface of this amazing ensemble cast, although they never showed it and pretended to be fabulous friends. A great documentary would have been the making of this film with these female power houses. This is the film debut of Butterfly McQueen. As of this post, the only surviving cast member is Joan Fontaine. Again, much better than the modern 2008 remake with Meg Ryan and Annette Bening.


12:00 AM

STING, THE (1973)   Two con men hit the big time to take on a gangster in ’30s Chicago.  Dir: George Roy Hill Cast:  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Eileen Brennan. C-129 mins, TV-MA, CC, Letterbox Format

Won 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Edith Head won her 8th and final Oscar for Best Costume Design. The second film for the leads to play together, the first Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.  At the time, Redford and Newman were considered the most handsome and bankable Hollywood stars. The only time Redford has been nominated for an acting Oscar. Robert Shaw had injured himself just prior to shooting and his limp was written into the script. He had to wear a leg brace during the production. The diner where Hooker meets Lonnegan is the same diner interior used in “Back to the Future”, as both movies were shot on the Universal backlot. Although Redford enjoyed his time making this film, he did not see the actual movie until 2004. This film set a standard for the fun, caper film with a smart, trick ending. The characters were so beloved that audiences didn’t feel “stung” or duped, they simply flocked to see it again and again. Comforting, classic continuity.

Kind of like me with “The Avengers.”

Happy Mother’s Day

I remember foolishly thinking:

If I can just get them to sleep through the night,

If I can just get them into full day Kindergarten,

If I can just get them to stay in their own beds all night,

If I can just get them into the right school,

If I can just get them to see their self-worth,

If I can just help them be self motivated,

If I can just get them through driver’s ed,

If I can just encourage them to make good decisions,

If I can just stay awake and wait up until curfew,

If I can just help them choose the right college,

If I can just get them moved into their dorm,

then, maybe, just maybe,

I can sleep through the night.

What a fool.

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare

The laughter, alone, has been worth the fool’s errand of perfecting motherhood.

I just want to say thank you to Jordan, Joshua, Monica & Nicole for humoring me.

I love you~Lola

TCM Tuesday

If you play by the rules, you miss all the fun~Katharine Hepburn

This week, we are celebrating the May 12th birthday of Katharine Hepburn and TCM is offering some of her classics along with a rare interview.  Hepburn is ranked the #1 woman in the AFI’s “50 Greatest Movie Legends”.

She has always been one of my personal favorites; playing dramatic and comedic roles in her own special way, on her own terms. She even did her own stunts since no one could stand up as straight as her; reinforcing my personal mantra to always stand tall.


Tuesday May 8

3:15 PM


An American artist finds love in Paris but almost loses it to conflicting loyalties.

Dir: Vincente Minnelli Cast:  Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant

BW-114 mins, TV-PG, CC

The studio created 44 dramatic sets despite Kelly’s wanting to shoot on location in Paris. The romantic story set against Paris with fabulous choreography, combined with the general Gene Kelly casual coolness definitely make this a bucket list musical. Kelly discovered Caron while on vacation in Paris and she replaced the originally cast Cyd Charisse, who had discovered she was pregnant. At times, the numbers can seem overblown, but really, you risk that in any musical when characters suddenly burst into song and dance. Although, I sometimes think, trying life scenarios could totally be diffused with a good, choreographed number.

2:15 AM


A heroic slave leads a revolt against the corrupt Roman Empire.

Dir: Stanley Kubrick Cast:  Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons

C-197 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

I have to admit that I did not see this film until last summer and I was so taken with Kirk Douglas. The film was shot on a 10 acre site in Los Angeles, using about 10,500 people for battle scenes; filmmaking before CGI.  Over 180 stuntmen were actually trained in the rituals of a gladiator, battle to the death. “I am Spartacus” was voted as the #64 greatest movie line by Premiere in 2007.


Thursday May 10

10:30 PM

I WANT TO LIVE! (1958)

True story of the small-time lady crook who fought to escape the gas chamber.

Dir: Robert Wise Cast:  Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent

BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

One of the first “old” movies I saw when I was in high school. I still remember watching it with my mom and being absolutely riveted. At that time, I was all about my 1980’s John Hughes genre; Molly Ringwald was my benchmark for dramatic acting. I held my breath as I watched Susan Hayward’s character scream, “I want to live!” A bit walk on part for this film was awarded on “The Price is Right”. Really.

Saturday May 12

 12:15 PM


A madcap heiress upsets the staid existence of a straight-laced scientist.

Dir: Howard Hawks Cast:  Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charlie Ruggles

BW-102 mins, TV-G, CC

Hepburn was almost mauled by the leopard when she turned around too quickly, shooting a scene, saved only by the quick reaction of the trainer and his whip. Cary Grant never said “Judy, Judy, Judy” in a film, but he says, “Susan, Susan, Susan” in this one. One of four movies that Hepburn and Grant would do together. Cary Grant…*sigh*

2:00 PM


In a rare interview, Katharine Hepburn shares her memories and memorabilia.

Dir: David Heeley Cast:  Katharine Hepburn

C-70 mins, TV-G, CC


3:15 PM


An aging couple’s liberal principles are tested when their daughter announces her engagement to a black doctor.

Dir: Stanley Kramer Cast:  Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn

C-108 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

Easily, one of my all-time favorite movies.  Houghton is Hepburn’s real niece and named after her. I think you can see shades and similarities of a young Hepburn. Poitier is perfectly “Poitier”. This was Tracy’s last movie. His last monologue, at the end of the movie, was filmed 14 days before he died. Be sure to watch Hepburn’s face as she watches him deliver his lines.  She knows it’s the end. There is also a scene at the drive-in diner where director Kramer catches her wistfully looking off camera, teary eyed; but then smiles and delivers her line, back in full character. Hepburn could never watched this film.

5:15 PM

ADAM’S RIB (1949)

Husband-and-wife lawyers argue opposite sides in a sensational women’s rights case.

Dir: George Cukor Cast:  Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Judy Holliday .

BW-101 mins, TV-G, CC

Ranked #7 on the AFI’s “Romantic Comedy” list. Mesmerized and incredibly nervous, Holliday is literally shaking in her first scene with Hepburn. Tracy ad-libs a line to Hepburn, “Oh, you’re giving me the Bryn Mawr accent.”; Hepburn’s actual alma mater. Their on-screen chemistry is visible, authentic and a bit melancholy given their real life circumstances.

Sunday May 13

Happy Mother’s Day!

5:45 AM


A working-class mother fights to give her daughter a big wedding whether the girl wants it or not.

Dir: Richard Brooks Cast:  Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds

BW-94 mins, TV-G, CC, Letterbox Format

One of Davis’ best performances, as she doesn’t over glamorize the character.  Also, one of Reynolds few dramatic roles and she is outstanding. It is puzzling why she only continued to do bubbly, comedic musical roles. She clearly had it in her to become a dramatic actress.

 7:00 PM


After divorcing a society man, a small-town woman tries to build a better life for their daughter.

Dir: King Vidor Cast:  Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley

BW-106 mins, TV-G, CC

Falling in love with old movies has been an eye-opening experience for me. For instance: I grew up in the 70’s/80’s, hence “The Thorn Birds” is part of my cultural DNA. Who knew how gorgeous and cool Barbara Stanwyck was in her day?! I just knew her as the creepy old lady on” Drohgeda” that wanted Father Ralph for herself, ew.  I love her classic films, including her portrayal of “Stella”.  I had only seen Bette Midler’s milder version. Wow. Stanwyck is stellar and I consider myself a new fan.

9:00 PM


A woman turns herself into a business tycoon to win her selfish daughter a place in society.

Dir: Michael Curtiz Cast:  Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott .

BW-111 mins, TV-PG, CC

If you ever question your mothering skills, watch Veda in full force, then go ahead and pick out your outfit for your acceptance of your “Mother-of-the-Year” award. Crawford won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of the mother that never stops spoiling. But, Ann Blyth should have won an award for her portrayal of the daughter that never quits b*tching! I cannot even envision Shirley Temple playing the part of Veda and she was actually considered for the role. This was Crawford’s comeback film after a series of flops and being labeled “box office poison”. She won the Best Actress Oscar for this role.

 Monday May 14

11:00 AM

GIANT (1956)

A Texas ranching family fights to survive changing times.

Dir: George Stevens Cast:  Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean

BW-201 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format

This was the last film James Dean made. He was killed while filming the last of “Giant”. Ironically, he filmed an anti-speeding PSA on the set, in the clothes of his character “Jett”, just two weeks before his fatal car crash. Hudson did not care for Dean and used his animosity to play up his role. When Hudson learned of Dean’s death, he was inconsolable with guilt and never forgave himself for being petty. On set, Taylor heard the news and was unable to work; as compared to “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” when she continued to work after her husband’s death. So, besides all that, a great epic drama as big as the great state of Texas!




Derby de Mayo

Kentucky Derby! Cinco de Mayo!

What’s a southern Latina to do?

The Tequila Julep

Muddle 10 leaves of mint and half of a lime cut in wedges 

1/2 shot simple syrup or tablespoon of white sugar

2 shots of Herradura Anejo Tequila


top off with Topo Chico Agua Mineral

Inspired by Jordan Stallings (alchemist/filmmaker/activist)

Prepared by Larkin Stallings (nightclub sage/the most interesting Man in the world)

Viva la Derby!